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Friday, September 30 • 5:00am - 8:00am
(REF 30058) Managing use of peatlands in Latvia to meet UN sustainable development goals and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050

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Peatlands cover about 11.2% of the land area of Latvia with significant biodiversity. Peat is also an important economic resource of Latvia generating about 220 million euros in exports principally in the form of peat used for horticulture in Germany, Netherlands, UK, and other countries. Degraded peatland resulting from removal of top layers of peat can become a significant emitter of greenhouse gasses (GHG).  Latvia is developing a model for sustainable use of peatlands that minimizes GHG emissions while preserving biodiversity and fostering economic development in rural areas that need to create meaningful work.In 2019 Latvia concluded the project “Sustainable and Responsible  Management and Re-use of Degraded Peatlands in Latvia’’ (LIFE14 CCM/ LV/001103, LIFE REstore) presenting the scientific evidence for sustainable use of peatlands. This session will update developments in since the project was completed 31 August 2019 affirming the continuing relevance of the research conducted in Latvia on peatlands. The issue is very important for Latvia due to the position advanced by advocates of peatland restoration that oppose the economic use of peatlands. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-59195535. Models used by the IPPC to estimate GHG emissions assume that extracted peat is used as a fuel and burned rather than as a soil substrate in horticulture. Analysis shows that soil substrates from alternatives to peat generate more GHGs. Extraction, packaging and shipping of peat from rural areas in Latvia creates much needed meaningful work and thereby contributes to meeting UN SDGs. dArguments for banning use of peat for agriculture need to also consider that substitutes for peat may result in greater global GHC emissions than well-managed use of peatlands coupled with both restoration of degraded peatlands and investment to grow cranberries and other health promoting crops.  Peat for horticulture is a significant export of Latvia. Sustainable economic use of degraded peatlands is possible further contributing to sustainable development of rural regions in Latvia that have seen significant reduction in their population and the quality of education, health and other services for the people that remain in regions with declining economic activity.  Latvia offers a model for sustainable use of peatlands that can be adapted to similar regions in other parts of the world.

avatar for Francesco Romagnoli

Francesco Romagnoli

Professor, Riga Technical University
Prof. Francesco Romagnoli graduated from the Polytechnic of Turin as an Environmental Engineer in the Dept. of Georesources and Geotechnology in 2001.He received his PhD from the Riga Technical University, Institute of Energy Systems and Environment in 2012 with the thesis: “Model... Read More →

avatar for Vidvuds Beldavs

Vidvuds Beldavs

Chairman, Riga Photonics Centre
Vidvuds (Vid) BeldavsChairman of the Board of Riga Photonics Centre advancing light sciences and technologies for Latvia; futurist. Convenor of the following SSUNGA77 sessions:- Recovery of Ukraine’s science and innovation capacity after the fossil fuel war- Managing peatlands in... Read More →

Friday September 30, 2022 5:00am - 8:00am EDT
  Biodiversity / Environment, Agriculture
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